In an emotionally-charged atmosphere at Lincoln indoor bowls stadium, Stamford Men’s A team maintained its 100 percent record in the chase to land the Lincolnshire First Division title for the first time in its 23-year history.
They won by five shots and claimed 15 of the 18 points available in a dramatic finish.
Though their opponents are propping up the table, they are always a tough challenge on their own slick surface but Stamford adapted quickly and held the advantage in the early stages, thanks to some fine retrieval bowls by skip Peter Edwards and a seven count by Martin Bailey’s rink to recover from an early deficit.
As the match reached its nail-biting final stages, Lincoln started to take a stranglehold on the overall score and snatch a slender lead but they hadn’t reckoned on the resolve of Paul Bailey’s team to scrap for every shot.
As the bell sounded for the final ends to be played across the five rinks, the scores were momentarily tied before in one final push Stamford snaffled the extra shots they needed for a 99-94 victory leaving them just a point behind champions Spalding, which they visit on Saturday, with a game in hand.
l Stamford’s mixed team continued the club’s sparkling form with a 146-65 demolition of local rivals Grantham, earning 17 of the 18 points at stake.
Three rinks - including that of 11th hour replacement skip Mick Owens - achieved 30 shots while one rink, skipped by Alan Barnes, shared 52 shots in a topsy turvy match.
A convincing home win against Lincoln B on Saturday should just about secure promotion back to the First Division of the Lincs Mixed League with three games to play,’ two of them at Dunholme and Scunthorpe.
l Stamford’s last remaining competitors in English national competitions bowed out this week in the Men’s Over 50 triples, beaten by Nottingham at Grantham.
Against Ron Cowan’s experienced rink, Area 6 winners Alan Romaine, Peter Cox and Keith Rippin made a promising start to their Inter-Area play-off for a place in the last 16. But they dropped a five count midway through which gave the city players the momentum they needed to run out 18-13 winners.
l With impressive wins against Boston, Stamford have a pair and triple through to the quarter-finals of the Lincolnshire Championships.
At home to Iain Clark and Martin Tomlin, Mike Ramsden and Martyn Dolby secured a 20-10 victory - thanks chiefly to some outstanding drawing and converting by Dolby which earned crucial 4-shot counts.
The 14-13 win over Keith Tointon’s triple at Boston by Wayne Morris, Jonathan Earl and Martin Bailey was equally dramatic. With the game poised at 13-13 and one down, Bailey with his last bowl after two misses, converted the jack into a winning position amid much excitement. They have now earned a quarter-final tie at home to Louth.
l Stamford bowlers are strongly represented in the closing stages of the Northants Bowling Federation championships with 17-year-old Stephen Harris carrying the solitary flag for Stamford in the four-bowl singles after an outstanding 21-17 defeat of Nick Wilkie at Peterborough. Paul Bailey losing to John Burrows 21-13.
In the mixed triples there were wins for Joyce Foster and Glenys and Peter Edwards - 20-11 over Peter Cox’s trio and for Dave Hudson and John and Moira Holroyd over Peterborough’s Fiona Richardson, Neil Wright and Pete Brown 23-17. A Stamford representation is guaranteed in the mixed pairs with Sharon Bailey and Martyn Dolby playing Bob and Carol Warters on Monday.
In the men’s pairs John and Paul Bailey after an outstanding last bowl win against Howard Shipp and Neil Wright take on Richard Allam and Derek King, while there are home ties for Warrington, Edwards and Warters against Peterborough opposition.
A Stamford player will also make the final of the Veterans singles with Derek King due to play Mike Ramsden after respective wins over Roger Ward (21-11) and John Burrows (21-15).
In the women’s competitions - depleted by several withdrawals because of date clashes - skips Val Du’Kett and Glenys Edwards are both through to the semi-finals of the triples, with Chris Ford looking for revenge over Hazel Bass in the 4-bowl singles after an earlier defeat in the veterans’ discipline.
l With successive defeats of Yorkshire, Durham, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire, the Over 60s team representing Lincolnshire have retained the Midland Counties Senior Championship for the second successive year.
Stamford IBC members who took part included Mike Ramsden (team captain), Peter Edwards, Martyn Dolby, Bob Warters, Keith Rippin, Alan Romaine and Dave Hudson.
They clinched the title again with a hard-fought 127-106 win over Leicestershire at Melton IBC.
l As bowls is probably the only ball sport where men and women compete on even terms, Stamford IBC Presidents Brian and Anita Edwards staged a ‘battle of the sexes’ match as part of their presidential fixtures.
And after an entertaining tussle, it was the men who emerged with victory by 136-76.
Bragging rights went to June Brennan, Maggie Holden, Shirley Suffling and Christine Ford - the only female winners - who featured a near maximum seven shots on the sixth end and eventually overcame Peter Edwards’ rink 22-18.
l Four Stamford bowlers are expected to be involved in Northants Bowling Federation’s final Derbyshire Trophy match against Norfolk at Stamford IBC on Sunday.
Stephen Harris, Bob Warters and Martyn Dolby complete one rink while John Holroyd joins Joe Randall and James Harford from Peterborough. The other home rink is expected to be skipped by England International Tris Morton.
Results (Stamford names only)
Stamford Lady Presidents 76, Men’s Presidents 136: (Ladies names first) J Brennan, M Holden, S Suffling, C Ford bt D Howarth, B Edwards, B Gretton, P Edwards 22-18; F Rogers, R Egboma, V Du’Kett, S Moir lost to K Rawlins, Ron Weston, T Barwell, M Hewitt 35; Rowena Weston, D Lunn, A Cullingworth, S Bailey lost to K Germany, N Kettlke, B Acock, D Henshaw 9-18; P Collicott, S Smye, M Holroyd, P O’Brien lost to D Hudson, A Thorpe, W Kettle, B Warters 10-24;J Foster, J Thorpe, C Warters, G Edwards lost to M Cullingworth, C Lunn, D Ford, J Little 13-24; J Gamble, S Henshaw, M Bloxham, A Edwards lost to G Cameron, D Stapleton, D Miller, T Freeman 13-17.
Lincs Men’s League Division One: Lincoln 94 (3 pts),Stamford A 99 (15). D Hudson, B Plowman, B Warters, P Edwards won 24-23; S Harris, M Ramsden, K Rippin, C Watson drew 22-22; W Aspinall, R Allam, D King, A Warrington won 19-18; W Morris, N Rigby, J Earl, M Bailey won 18-14; K Rawlins, T Harris, J Holroyd, P Bailey lost 16-17.
Lincs Mixed League Division Two: Stamford 146 (17), Grantham 65 (1). C Barnes, D Mackie, T Mackie, M Dolby 31-14; S Harris, S Moir, M Bloxham, M Owens won 32-5; J Brennan, D Ford, C Ford, J Little won 27-11; D Hudson, J Dupree, M Andrews, A Barnes drew 26-26; W Kettle, V Du’Kett, C Warters, B Warters won 30-9.
Lincs Ladies Trudy Bates League: Sleaford 121 (14 pts), Stamford 79 (2). M MacKellar, S Henshaw, R March, C Ford lost 14-18; P Collicott, J Dupree, V Du’Kett, P O’Brian lost 12-33; J Brennan, M Andrews, S Moir, A Edwards lost 16-22; F Rogers, P Barton, S Suffling, C Warters won 32-13; J Gamble, M Broadbelt, D Mackie, G Edwards lost 5-35.